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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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October 28th, 2014
05:58 PM ET

Fmr. U.S. surgeon general on Ebola quarantines: We need to make decisions based on scientific evidence

(CNN) – Governors issuing routine quarantines on individuals who have had contact with Ebola patients are trying to protect people in their states, but they are overreacting, says a former U.S. surgeon general.

"We must make our decisions based on scientific evidence as opposed to our reaction and when we do not have the knowledge, sometimes we overreact and we overprotect," says Dr. Joycelyn Elders.

New York, New Jersey and Illinois says anyone returning from having direct contact with Ebola patients in West Africa will have to be quarantined for 21 days. The 21-day period marks the maximum incubation period for Ebola.

"Their actions are based on their knowledge as they see it today. It's not based on scientific evidence as put out by the scientists of the world," Elders said.

Public health experts say there's plenty of scientific evidence indicating there's very little chance that random people will get Ebola, unless they are in very close contact – close enough to touch bodily fluids – with someone who has it.

For more of our interview with former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders, check out the video above.

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